Prez Campaign Heats Up: Colbert Gains in Poll as Facebook Group Tops One Million/John Edwards Strikes Back

In the 2006 film Man of the Year, Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams), a Bill Maher/Jon Stewart-ish late-night talk show host, runs for president on a lark.  After a rousing performance in the last debate of the campaign, Dobbs wins.

A Rasmussen Report national telephone survey has found that Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s mock right-wing pundit, is climbing in the presidential polls.

"Colbert is preferred by 13% of voters as an independent candidate challenging Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani," says the independent polling company in a report released last week.

The poll was taken Oct. 19-21,  “shortly after Colbert’s surprise announcement that he is lusting for the Oval Office.”

Also as of last Friday, Colbert’s Facebook group “Strong for Stephen Colbert”  - a play on his WristStrong public awareness effort or perhaps the "One Million Strong for Barack Obama" Facebook group -  is reported to have grown to 1,015,000, up from 5,000 on Oct. 17,  the day after Colbert announced on-air his intention to run for president as both a Democrat and Republican in his native South Carolina.

Who knows what’s real and what isn’t.  No matter.  It’s way too much fun and now the actual candidates are playing along, riding Colbert’s comedic coattails.

Colbert built faux momentum by putting in appearances on ABC’s Good Morning Americaand on CNN’s Larry King Live.

On The Daily Show, he arrived in style - in a pedi-cab pedaled by an Uncle Sam-costumed lacky - and plunged into the cheering audience to shake hands.  After daintily swabbing his hands with anti-bacterial, Colbert tried to make up for his  un-working class behavior by hauling out a hay bale and a beer, and tossing the bottle cap into the crowd.  Everyone was ready for the big news.  But he kept his devotees on pins and needles for just a little while longer by announcing that he would “officially consider whether or not” to announce.

Finally on The Colbert Report– amid a shower of red and blue balloons, with the band playing "Hail to the Chief" - Colbert declared that he was finally “doing it.”

Responses from the S.C political camps were swift:

From The

Terry Sullivan, state campaign director for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, tried to be diplomatic when discussing the newest rival of his preferred candidate.

“I’m shocked Stephen Colbert would run for president. He’s clearly overqualified for the job,” Sullivan said.

Carol Khare Fowler, the S.C. Democratic Party chairwoman, is quite certain Colbert’s feigned righteousness will allow him to fare better in the GOP primary than the Democratic one.

“Those Republicans will fall for anything,” she said.

According to Editor & Publisher:

Columbia, S.C., Mayor Bob Coble presented the "Comedy Central" hero a key to the city, declared him South Carolina’s "favorite son" and officially proclaimed it Stephen Colbert day. Some in the crowd held signs with images of Colbert and Jesus that read, "Colbert. Christ. Favorite Sons ‘08."

Editor and Publisher further reports:

After Colbert accused John Edwards of “leaving S.C. when he was one-year old,”

the Edwards campaign struck back with this prepared statement:


CLAIM: Edwards abandoned South Carolina when he was one year old.

FACT: Edwards was born in South Carolina, learned to walk in South Carolina, learned to talk to in South Carolina, and will kick Stephen Colbert’s New York City butt in South Carolina.

Stephen Colbert claims to represent a new kind of politics, but today we see he’s participating in the slash and burn politics that has no place in American discourse. The truthiness is, as the candidate of Doritos, Colbert’s hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from salty food lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn’t in the pocket of the snack food special interests.

Campaigning on the campus of the University of South Carolina today, Colbert reportedly told the crowd that he’d "crush" the rival state of Georgia.  "Our peaches are more numerous than Georgia’s," he claimed, "they are more juiciful."